Wednesday, November 11, 2009

St. Dragon Girl vol. 1 Impression

When it comes to Shojo manga, for the ladies, I am not an expert but I do enjoy the change in story telling, art and overall direction from the Shonen titles. There is usually no lack of action or intrigue but rather most of the good stuff from Shonen titles comes across with more, well heart to pick Viz cheese-tastic phrase. None of this change with St. Dragon Girl volume 1 from Viz as the action is there but from a more feminine standpoint. Let’s take a look …

Momoka Sendou loves martial arts and excels in the practice. Her school life is fairly normal until her childhood friend Ryuga Kou has a little mishap. Kou is a Chinese magic user, one who battles and banishes demons and during one such encounter he summons a dragon spirit to enter him and infuse him with power just to see it accidentally enter Momoka (whoops!). Now nicknamed “Dragon Girl” not only must Momoka carry on her normal life she must also fight demons along with Ryuga. Their first encounter together is against the curse of the Serpent King who takes a human bride, in this case Shunran, Momoka’s friend. After this encounter trouble continues to roll in the form of an art teacher trapping fighting girls, two mischievous cat demons in a mirror and the arrival of a rival for Ryuga. Top this all off with a kiss being needed to activate her dragon powers and now Momoka’s life is anything but normal.

Natsumi Matsumoto, thanks for creating a charming manga. The art you’ve crafted is very Shojo, simple but enjoyable to look at. The detail is minimal even in complicated clothing while the character designs are not too childish nor grown up, it feels adolescent which is the purpose. The story is very loose in detail, with some background coming in with the rival’s arrival but otherwise things just happen. The demon encounters seem normal, the family background touched on but not in great detail … not even Momoka’s love for pandas is fully fleshed out.

What St. Dragon Girl amounts to is a manga perfect for the younger female demographic. It’s got a crush story, good/simple design and an easy to follow story that’s not too complicated, not too sappy and actually containing a decent amount of action. Not every Shojo title is all ponies and girly stuff and while I would not recommend this to older boys I will not tell younger boys to shy away, heck it has dragons, demons and tons of kicking action. Mixed bag overall but youngsters should enjoy, older folks no real reason to explore.

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